Stopgap

Chernicia and her loyal band of
roving youth choir administrators
saw no choice
other than to take up stopgap freelance work.

Due to a general malaise
and rapidly-growing apprehension
toward patronizing or participating in
the performing arts (the anti-exceptionalist
herd mentality showed absolutely no signs of
dissipation as professionals of all stripes
traversed the barren corporate landscape
(a hell to be wished upon no soul)), all hope
seemed lost on the fearful.

Interest in the once-alluring
middle and high school competitive circuit
had been waning steadily for a generation or so,
to the point where even the most stalwart
paper-shuffling masochists out there
had to admit they were licked.

In this devastating climate, Chernicia figured
that some places out there
must
still need to enlist the services
of highly-competent youth choir administrators.

They took an oath in front of the children,
for Christ’s sake!
They vowed, on bended knee,
to make themselves
available for freelance filing (and HR concerns)
at the drop of a hat, whenever duty may come calling.

So just like that, they picked up and left–
no matter what their guts happened to be
telling them (the group’s average duodenum
could paint you the idyllic picture
where they’d carved out a sort of haven
in this life of more uncertainty than trust).

Many tearful (and gut-wrenching) goodbyes
after they developed the steely resolve
to give up their past selves
(for the children, dammit),
the brave and intrepid band set out
on their first assignment: Gurnee, Illinois.

They never did look back.
And to this very day,
rental cars and hotel rooms
still serve as their only refuge
from the vast desert of abandoned office complexes.

Thanks, Dad

“Parallel entities befit madness, my son.

“You should never turn your back on those other dimensions our forward-thinking predecessors have been touting for some time now, or your attention will lose its cosmic importance, the aggregate of local souls gradually easing you out of their observational patterns–though it’s the last thing they would do if given the choice.

“While you are charged with keeping your attention beyond the present actions contained within our visible plane, you mustn’t let the responsibility weigh on your consciousness too much; although you know everything is simply an illusion, you are an integral part of the chain of illusions keeping our earthly consciousness afloat.

“When you shudder, know the implications. When two birds meet on a wire and appear to converse, understand that their dialogue fits into our space on a level wholly undisturbed by our own idea of language. No need to fret over payment, my first lesson is always free.”

“Thanks, dad.”

——

First draft posted on 10/12/11,
originally entitled #40

Wooden Spoons

Double up the foundation dust,
trouble finding lurky lust while wincing
under beveled falls; egregious
concertina riffs agree with Wes
(our father’s postman): the passion
never does leave the feet.

Snowcapped griffins found asylums
rich in iron, poor in aprons.
Mythology holds no place
in institutions of higher psychology.

Where reprimands come for assurance,
our collective mothers grease their wooden spoons.
We may only marvel as to which grease traps
were harvested for such a folksy purpose.

You insist that I have a soul for dingers,
I retort that your trout lost its diaper yesterday.
You ask what that means, and while
seething in your stupor, I quip
“which radishes peak first?
Why, only the early growers, son.”

——

First draft posted on 6/11/11,
originally entitled #10

Appetite for the Absurd

Heralded as the Jonestown Network alternative to Stem, the Fruitful Terrier Sitter Extraordinaire, Pango Pango Junction packs quite the wallop when it comes to pure, unadulterated edutainment at a reasonable price. Parked at the intersection of broad leaf swelling and matriarchal patronage, I defy anybody to come away without some kind of interesting new trivia in their noggin by the end of each episode.

Before I agreed to subject myself to the bizarre ritual that is test-viewing a public television program for the determination of proper demographic distribution, I thought “oh jeez, here goes another several hours of my life that I’m never getting back. And right on the heels of finishing up my kite-flying apprenticeship at Old American [for Profit] University, too.”

But, being the good sport that I am, I didn’t even balk at the dubious honor. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the show’s producer and I had a bit of a fling a few holiday seasons ago, and that we still flirt pretty heartily with each other. I’m a real sucker for shallow intimacy, especially if it’s spread out over the course of several years, where I can put the person/people out of mind for a while and reconnect with that polarizing animal magnetism as though we’re on a sinking ship/divebombing plane/bucking bronco… I guess it would be tough to get two of us on one of those beasts at the same time, but you get my drift.

You know, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this topic. Not to wax depressing, but living alone has afforded me the time to step back and reflect upon the foundation of relationships at their very essence of innate human fragility. I’ve come to develop the inconvenient understanding that I was never meant to settle down with any one person, and the fairy tale love affair might as well go the way of the dinosaurs–at least, as far as I’m concerned. Damn, now I’ve gone and gotten myself all glum again! What the hell?!

But anyway, I promised Gwen I’d do her a favor by giving my unvarnished opinion on the latest project, so I borrowed her official showbiz flash drive and gave the first few episodes a spin. Yes, plural episodes. Just shooting a pilot clearly wouldn’t have been enough doing to properly showcase their dean’s list-caliber aptitude for creative enterprises. One could chalk it up to insurmountable confidence or simply an arrogance that never got flushed out of the system by regular beatings/embarrassments, but I reserve such judgments for the critics of the world.

Well, this review got a bit out of hand. Suffice it to say that I recommend Pango Pango Junction to anyone looking to spend some time on a contemporary spin of the “one-size-fits-all daytime head-scratcher” subgenre. Or simply anyone with a healthy enough appetite for the absurd.

Until we meet again, gentle reader–

Sardonicus Q. Jellyknife, Esq.

DFM

Enter our eternal and infernal friend,
Deflatermouse–
careful about the point he makes when scrimmying across the kitchen floor in a fairly affluent suburban subdivision that would otherwise say it’s been treated well by the rodents and mongrels of the world. Only DFM (as the folks in the know have referred to him) gets a pass–you know, for sheer name novelty that has nothing to do with his aptitude for deflating himself (or others) and everything to do with occupying the (then) hovel of Fretful Fred, a beleaguered baritone at the peak of malaise and circumspection.

“Well hello there, little fella.” DFM pauses, startled to be addressed in such a cordial way.

“You’re the first visitor I’ve had in quite some time!” DFM appears to be intently listening to Fred, if only to take in the sonorous quality of his voice.

“Take a load off, friend! I don’t have much of anything to offer, but I’m sure you’re fairly adept at fending for yourself at this point.” DFM then immediately proceeds to scrimmy away, marking the exact moment in which his fabled moniker first graced Fred’s consciousness.

Fretful Fred considers himself a bit of a wordsmith, in addition to his accomplishments of the stage and screen. It took about two to three seconds to formulate the nickname, during which time there were numerous cognitive connections taking place, not at all dissimilar to the series of adjustments that a world-class athlete must make while performing the repetitive tasks that put them in that spotlight in the first place.

Our tiny rodent companion lit the fuse that led to a lightning-quick series of self-deprecating blasts. Every moment neglecting my life’s passions seems to just fuel the bonfire of self-hindrance, perpetuating a “woe is me” mentality that only spirals as the moments compile. My pesky new pal graced me with his presence at the intersection of doubt and fear, giving me the semblance of camaraderie, no matter how fleeting. But, just as all moments ever experienced by we, the mortal folk charged with hoisting the weight of the cosmos (whether or not weight is an accurate measurement), our fledgling friendship seems to have vanished as suddenly as it appeared.

“You’re a real Deflatermouse, you know that?” Freddy knew that an intellectual connection couldn’t be made, now or ever, but he continued to consciously deny the existence of a language barrier for the sake of infusing any wonder into his underwhelming existence.

Frontier

A healthy schnitzelfritz
is all we would need
for a cut-rate Dependence Day
on the Frontier of Many Puddings.

Ever since the rolling scabies epidemic
took its time crossing the Ganges,
twelve men have made it their business
to carve necklaces from oak stumps
as a way of reconnecting
with their wood nymph sides
while honing their dedication
to sculptural accessorizing.

After all those mentions of scriptural evangelizing, our Maker’s Dozen–as they like to call themselves–made the executive decision to secularize the whole process and peddle the wares of their ingenuity for a tidy profit (at least, wherever flea markets intersect with local art exhibitions).

One mustn’t mistake this ingenuity
for dogmatic commitment to peculiar crafting,
as these enterprising young monks
would be the first to tell you.
Frankly, these fellows have
a bit of a competitive streak in them
that has yet to be beaten out
by assumptive authoritarians,
and a near-endless supply
of stump-grade dynamite
only served to seal the deal.

Protrusion Trudy

Protrusion Trudy
done did it this time,
dadgummit.
She jutted her elbow out
at just the wrong moment
and now
she has
a scrappy little flotsam/jetsam nugget
at her side
for at least the next couple full moons
(or until she has to
get her oil changed,
whichever comes first).

Poor ol’ Trudy couldn’t possibly
have seen that coming,
unless she were to
actually listen to her friends
every once in a while.

“Hey!
Don’t stick your elbow out there!
You could get a latcher,
or worse,
a lecher!”

The halfhearted plea
for common decency
will always fall
upon deaf ears
wherever Protrusion Trudy is concerned.
She goes on
to this very day,
whamming her elbows
into occupied space

“just the way God made me.”